I started this blog in 2008 to record how my garden developed, it quickly became a gardening journal and I have loved it every since. I am passionate about horticulture despite working in higher education administration. I have started to re-engage with other hobbies: knitting, sewing and drawing so sometimes the posts on here may be less garden focussed. However, as I don't want to bore you with my new crochet obsession I have started another blog for this and if you are interested there is a link further down this side bar.
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I would like to think that Monty Don would be proud of my compost making abilities but deep down I know that he would despair at my complete lack of organisation and efficiency. I have good intentions and even got a third compost bin this year with the plan to have an efficient and well organised system where one bin is turned into another thus aerating the compost and producing fine crumbly compost at the end. However, as ever in my life it seems, my plans and what actually happened bear little in common.
It was all going well until the grand workshop plan come into being and as a result the back lawn was dug up. This presented us with a large amount of turf and nowhere to really stack it. Lo and behold an empty compost bin was just sitting there and before I knew it the bin was no longer empty but full of turf. Because of this unexpected ‘harvest’ all the bins were full by mid summer and with my recent tidying up I have had to resort to using an old dustbin and also making extra piles of material as you can see above.
Emptying compost bins is way down the list of jobs I want to do of a weekend but I realised on Saturday that I had done all the essential bulb planting and really I should sort the bins out before I created even more chaos. Amazingly the compost bin full of turfs had completely rotted down into loam. There were a handful of mossy bits but that is it. So I spent Saturday afternoon spreading the loam around the borders as a kind of mulch.
The majority of it went on the back border by the top fence. The slope is quite steep here and the soil is predominantly clay based so a struggle to dig. I have a rhododendron I want to move here and then I went to develop this area, along with the other bits I have mentioned in recent weeks, for my growing collection of spring bulbs and woodland plants. Hopefully the thick layer of loam will make this easier for me to do.
Of course once I had emptied the bin it was full again with the contents of the dustbin and the extra pile but at least there is some semblance of order – or so I tell myself.
I have spent the last week attending graduation ceremonies at work. Part of my job is to look after the University’s VIP guests, escorting them to and from Worcester Cathedral. It can be fascinating and I get to speak to some amazing people including this week a Noble prize winner, a Duke, an Earl and a medieval scholar. But it can be quite exhausting making small talk, chasing after people, managing senior staff expectations not forgetting two late evenings after two dinners. Therefore it was hardly surprising that when Sunday dawned grey and with biting winds I retreated inside. It is strange at this time of year to only see the garden two days a week but I was thrilled to see the buds on my Crocus pulchellus ‘Zephyr’ beginning to unfurl. My eldest also managed to source me a free supply of bark chip so hopefully next weekend, when I am less weary, I can mulch the front garden which is one of the few things I would really like to do before the really cold weather arrives.
I think from now until the New Year any jobs I do in the garden will be a bonus.
I haven't been able to do any sewing or crocheting over the last couple of weeks as I have been just so tired due to the stress of work and long hours but this evening I had twitchy fingers and felt in need of something to occupy my hands. In my project bag was a free crochet kit from Simply Crochet…
Finally I can blog again. With the shorter days I am struggling to take photographs for the blog and being away last week meant that I couldn’t get any photographs for the GBBD post. But never mind its the weekend and the sun is almost shining so I have taken some foliage photos. There is still lots of colour in the garden and predominantly from the turning foliage than from flowers – I wonder should I look to have more floral interest at this time of year or just enjoy the autumn colours.
The top photograph is a Cotinus which looks wonderful when the sun decides to shine on it. Above is Sorbus vilmorinii whose leaves have been slowly turning over a number of weeks, I like the way they go through a number of shades colour from green through burgundy to a yellow.
The large unknown Prunus at the top of the garden has finally decided to give in to the change of seasons and the leaves are starting to turn a soft buttery yellow. It occurs to me that with all the trees and shrubs I have added in recent years I have increased the amount of fallen leaves I need to pick up. I do tend to take the approach of pushing them under shrubs and hedges as a sort of mulch although I plan to bag some up again this year as rotted leaves are meant to be very good for alpine and bulb compost mixes. I will have to find somewhere to store the bags where the evil badger wont find them and rip them to pieces.
I think many perennials add to the autumn display and at the moment Kirengeshoma palmata is lighting up the patio border with its pale yellow flowers. Definitely a plant that should be grown more by people.
But not all the leaves are turning and dying. There is a whole range of woodland plants that give good foliage during the winter including epimediums, pulmonaria (above), ferns and hellebores. Then there is the wonderful range of cyclamen leaves which varying greatly within species
Cyclamen hederifolium is a great plant, it flowers for months and slowly once it has started flowering you have these wonderful leaves. I have noticed more and more cyclamen coming home with me from various horticultural club meetings chosen for their foliage!
Melianthus major continues to look fresh and bright and I am wondering how long it will be before it succumbs to frost and cold. I need to provide it with some protection but I have yet to decide what. Last year I covered the crown with straw which seemed to work well but then it wasn’t that cold a winter.
For more foliage follow up posts visit Pam’s blog Digging – there will no doubt be lots of sunny photographs with agaves and other interesting succulents.!